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Solar feed-in tariff cuts delayed until August

Lower FIT rates will apply from 1 August

The government today announced that reforms to the payments for solar feed-in tariffs would not come into place until 1 August 2012. 

Climate minister Greg Barker confirmed that the planned cuts to solar incentives would happen a month later than originally planned.

The changes mean that solar panel owners would receive 16p/kWh instead of 21p/kWh. Mr Barker said that the reforms would provide the industry with ‘transparency, longevity and certainty.’

You can find out more about the solar feed-in tariff with our free online guide.

Solar feed-in tariffs

The feed-in tariff scheme (often called ‘FIT’) pays solar panel owners for the electricity they generate that is fed back into the grid. 

The scheme initially had a generous payment of 43.3p/kWh which led to a very high uptake, and in October 2011 the government announced plans to change FIT payments to reduce the amount of money that was being given through the scheme. However, the government encountered legal problems with their proposals for FIT which has delayed the reduction in payments. 

Consumers pay for the FIT scheme through their electricity bills and Which? considers that the scheme must be as cost-effective and put as little burden on bills as possible. Which? has called for a stronger cost benefit analysis of the FIT scheme.

Advice on the feed-in tariff

Which? is urging people considering solar panels to do their research thoroughly, and not rush into installing panels to try and beat government deadlines. Getting solar panels installed and registered within the timeframe may not be feasible, and consumers expecting the slightly higher FIT rate could be disappointed. 

Additionally, since April 2012, householders would be required to show that the house has at least an Energy Performance Certificate level D or they will get an even lower FIT of 9p/kWh.

Which? tips:

  • Do your research – get several quotes and be prepared to receive the lower rate of return.
  • Don’t be swayed by installers who tell you that you will be able to get through in time. In some areas there is a backlog of installations and even a waiting list.

More on this…

  • Find out more about the feed-in tariff, and how it works
  • Thinking of getting solar PV panels? Get advice on how to buy
  • Will the Green Deal work for consumers? We think it needs to change

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